Piers Morgan, Sharon Osborne and Howie Mandel of “America’s Got Talent” were not in attendance, but no judges were needed at St. Bernadette School’s annual talent show, held Friday, Feb. 17, and Saturday, Feb. 18. Every act was a winner!
Students performed a total of three times for a packed gymnasium of parents and parishioners, all of whom purchased tickets to raise funds for the school. Many parents attended all three shows to show support for their talented children.
“What a joy it is to see the children share their gifts and talents,” Principal Sr. Joan DiRienzo, MPF, remarked. “The show affords the students a priceless opportunity to hone their public appearance skills. This is a time for building confidence as well as school spirit.”
Whether they were singing, dancing, or playing instruments, the students did not disappoint and the crowd cheered loudly throughout. With more than 30 performances, they certainly got their money’s worth.
Third grade teacher Kim Furfaro, who coordinates the show each year with parent Donna Scarangello and Student Council Moderator Sr. Shirlee Tremont, MPF, said she is extremely proud of the students who participated.
“They worked so hard. We’ve been practicing since January,” Furfaro said. “They feel so great and it’s a bonding experience for them.”
And by Saturday night’s third and final performance, Furfaro said the children’s nerves had all but vanished.
“They’re definitely more relaxed,” she said. “And to look out and see another packed house — it’s great!”
Scarangello handled the music for the show. With the children’s musical choices ranging from Chris Brown to Twisted Sister to, yes, even N’SYNC, Scarangello kept busy all night.
“I love doing the music,” she said. “I’ve been doing this for a lot of years and I keep coming back. It’s wonderful.”
Both Furfaro and Scarangello agreed that the highlight of the show is the sense of family among students that is made clear during rehearsals and throughout the live performances.
And many students felt that sense of family as well, including eighth grader Salvatore Cardinale, who performed in several acts. In “New York, New York,” he played the saxophone flawlessly on stage.
“I love St. Bernadette,” Cardinale said. “Everybody knows everybody. There’s a closeness there.”
Cardinale, who plays several sports through the Dyker Heights Athletic Association, will be attending Xaverian in the fall.
Classmate Jesse Mangano, another DHAA player, agreed.
“Younger kids feel like they’re in my class because we all get along,” he said.
Mangano also performed in several acts for the show, including a reprise of “Grease Lighting” that included footage of himself doing the same number as a young student years ago.
Mangano, first vice president of the Student Council, said he will be attending Xavier in the fall.
The show provided the students with a stage, but it was largely up to them to decide what special talents they would share with the community.
Giulia Troia, a fourth grader, performed acrobatic dance moves with her classmates to Elton John’s “Crocodile Rock.”
“I love doing cartwheels!” she gushed after the show.
Fifth grader Nina Amatore performed “Hand Jive,” a classic dance number that had the audience clapping and dancing along – and she wasn’t nervous at all!
“I love performing in front of people,” she said. “I don’t really get shy because we’re all friends.”
Kristina Angilletta, an eight grader who danced along with her girlfriends to Rihanna’s “We Found Love,” said being on stage is her favorite part of the whole experience.
“It’s exciting!” she said. “The audience always claps and cheers you on. It’s a great community.”
Angilletta will attend Fontbonne Hall Academy in the fall, where she hopes to join the cheerleading team.
The eighth graders played a special role backstage as well, according to class president Joe Papeo.
“A lot of us worked as runners backstage, moving and setting up props,” he said. “it was a great experience.”
Papeo feels the sense of family at St. Bernadette strongly, as his sister Valentina is also his classmate. It is an experience that has been unique and rewarding, he said.
“It’s nice to know you have someone to lean on,” he said.
The talent show is just one of the many fundraisers in which the students take an active role during the school year, according to Student Council President Joseph Donahue, an eighth grader.
“We’re very busy,” he said. “But we all have fun and everyone plays a role.”
Among the other activities Donahue and his classmates — under the guidance of Sr. Shirlee — have organized was a car wash, the proceeds of which went to missionary work.
“It’s great to be able to help out the less fortunate,” he said.
As for the talent show, the students and their families helped raise enough money for St. Bernadette that Sr. Joan proudly announced that she was able to purchase 15 new Dell laptops for the students to use.